Pope Francis explains the relationship of art with God, the great poet of humanity

Pope Francis explains the relationship of art with God, the great poet of humanity

2023-05-27 13:17:00

May 27, 2023 / 6:17 a.m.

Pope Francis explained that artists also carry out evangelical work, which “helps us to better understand God, as the great poet of humanity”.

On the morning of this Saturday, May 27, the Holy Father held a meeting with the participants of the congress promoted by La Civiltá Cattolica (Italian magazine of the Society of Jesus) and by Georgetown University (United States).

Among them was Martin Scorsese, a well-known American film producer, director and screenwriter who had already been received by Pope Francis on other occasions.

As the Pope recalled, this congress brings together poets, writers, scriptwriters and filmmakers from different parts of the world around the theme of “poetic imagination and Catholic inspiration”.

At the beginning of his speech, Pope Francis stressed that “the word of the writers helped me to understand myself, to the world, to my people; but also to deepen my human heart, my personal life of faith, and even my pastoral work”.

As the Holy Father explained, “human beings yearn for a new world that we probably will not fully see with our own eyes, and yet we yearn for it, we search for it, we dream of it.”

He then defined art as “an antidote against the mentality of calculation and uniformity; it is a challenge to our imagination, to our way of seeing and understanding things”.

Addressing the artists present in the audience, the Pope assured that “the Church needs your genius”.

“But I would like to say a second thing: you are also the voice of human anguish. You know well that artistic inspiration not only comforts, but also unsettles, because it presents both the beautiful realities of life and the tragic ones”, she added.

In addition, he stressed that “there are things in life that sometimes we cannot even understand or for which we cannot find the right words: this is your fertile ground, your field of action. And this is also the place where you often experience God.”

For this reason, Pope Francis asked them to “go beyond closed and defined borders, that you be creative, without taming your anxieties and those of humanity”.

“With the word of poetry, collect the restless desires that inhabit the human heart, so that they do not cool down and go out.”

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For the Pontiff, this work “allows the Spirit to act, to create harmony within the tensions and contradictions of human life, to keep the fire of good passions burning and to contribute to the growth of beauty in all its forms, that beauty that is expressed precisely through the wealth of the arts.”

He also stressed that art “has consequences for the spiritual imagination of the people of our time, especially with regard to the figure of Christ”.

In this sense, he pointed out that “your work helps us to see Jesus, to heal our imagination of everything that obscures his face or, even worse, of everything that wants to tame him.”

“Taming the face of Christ, almost trying to define it and enclose it in our schemes, is to destroy its image: Christ is always greater, it is always a mystery that somehow escapes us. We struggled to put it in a frame and hang it on the wall.”

“Here is the challenge for the Catholic imagination of our time,” he continued, “the challenge that is given to you: not ‘explain’ the mystery of Christ, who is in reality inexhaustible; but to make us touch it, to make us feel it immediately close, to deliver it to us as a living reality, and to make us capture the beauty of its promise”.

Almudena Martínez-Bordiú is a Spanish journalist, correspondent for ACI Prensa in Rome and the Vatican, with four years of experience in religious information.

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